Dead Poets Society
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Robin Williams toned down his usually manic comic approach in this successful period drama. In 1959, the Welton Academy is a staid but well-respected prep school where education is a pragmatic and rather dull affair. Several of the students, however, have their thoughts on the learning process (and life itself) changed when a new teacher comes to the school. John Keating (Williams) is an unconventional educator who tears chapters of his textbooks and asks his students to stand on their desks to see the world from a new angle. Keating introduces his students to poetry, and his free-thinking… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 85%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Williams, who has comparatively little screen time, has come to act, not to cut comic riffs, and he does so with forceful, ultimately compelling, simplicity."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"Weir infuses the film with his customary mysticism, but more importantly, draws sensitive performances from his largely inexperienced cast."
‑ , Time Out
"It's not so easy to dismiss Dead Poets Society. For all its faults, it still has as much power as it ever did."
‑ Jeffrey M. Anderson, Combustible Celluloid
"Inspiring, intense story of a teacher and his students."
‑ Randy White, Common Sense Media
"A bundle of growing pain blues, flamboyant declarations of self, and doomsday faculty foul-ups, and it cooks when delivered in big batches of adolescent passion."
‑ Brian Orndorf, BrianOrndorf.com
"Story sings whenever Williams is onscreen. Screen belongs just as often to Leonard, who as Neil has a quality of darting confidence mixed with hesitancy. Hawke, as the painfully shy Todd, gives a haunting performance."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"The movie undercuts Mr. Williams's exceptionally fine performance, making the character seem more of a dubious fool than is probably intended."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Williams keeps a stiff upper lip, showing a more sedate and sensitive side, and the Oscar-winning screenplay provides a strong backbone."
‑ James Plath, Movie Metropolis
"Beautifully directed and with an Oscar-winning story."
‑ Angie Errigo, Empire Magazine
"Watch "Dead Poets Society" and you'll see the efforts of a filmmaker who has his own loving style in making movies."
‑ Rory L. Aronsky, Screen It!
"The moral divisions set up between characters are childishly overdrawn; and, worst of all, the behavior shown by the boys and adults frequently reeks of falsity and contrivance."
‑ Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader
"It's a literate though strained uplifter, a not altogether compatible coupleting of Rocky Balboa and the Bard."
‑ Rita Kempley, Washington Post
"Falters when it goes for too much heart-tugging manipulation."
‑ Dennis Schwartz, Ozus' World Movie Reviews
"A film that celebrates the importance of inspiration, albeit in slightly affected fashion."
‑ , Film4
"Though sentimental and contrived, this valentine to charismatic, dedicated teachers is extremely well acted (even by Robin Williams) and it does make you feel good about loving literature and poetry."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
More reviews for Dead Poets Society on Rotten Tomatoes

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